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Old 10-18-2012, 08:07 PM   #1
RoKozak
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Default My Brewhouse Efficiency

Since I just started AG, I'm looking to figure out exactly how I understand my brewhouse efficiency.

For example, I brew a recipe that assumes 70% efficiency (which I hear is a good place to at least start).

Here's a few questions running through my mind.

Does mash efficiency change brewhouse efficiency? Say my mash efficiency jumps 5-10 points this next brew that assumes 70%...will that then throw off my recipe plan since I'd have a higher Pre-boil gravity?

Am I aiming to adjust my gravity to match recipe efficiency assumptions?

How many brews does it take to establish a solid brewhouse efficiency for recipe development? I know there's no magic number but I want to see what people's experiences are.

As you can see, I think my biggest problem is really trying to understand what brewhouse efficiency is and how to relate it to recipes.

Thanks everyone.

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Old 10-18-2012, 08:12 PM   #2
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I would call efficiency the ability to extract all the converted starches from the grains. So yes, that's mash efficiency. Some call brewhouse efficiency your ability to get that all the way to the kettle, accounting for other losses like kettle losses. I don't worry about that. The first one is the one that will have the most impact on your recipe and your ability to hit your gravities.

yes if your efficiency is higher than the 70% assumption your final OG will be higher. But you will know this preboil. So you can just enjoy your stronger beer or if you really wanted to hit the gravity you could dilute it preboil.

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Old 10-19-2012, 01:43 AM   #3
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So when a recipe says it's based on 70% efficiency, is that mash efficiency or brewhouse?

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Old 10-19-2012, 02:39 AM   #4
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Yes. To hit a recipe OG, you are talking about mash efficiency.

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Old 10-19-2012, 04:04 AM   #5
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Correct.

Mash efficiency is only a portion of the entire brewhouse efficiency.

If you manage to hit your volumes spot on from mashing in, to bottling/kegging, then that is total brewhouse.

Mashing is the most important, in my opinion, and the one people seemed obsessed with. Higher doesn't always mean better, so don't freak out and make it a goal to get every drop because it's not going to happen.

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by FATC1TY View Post
Correct.

Mash efficiency is only a portion of the entire brewhouse efficiency.

If you manage to hit your volumes spot on from mashing in, to bottling/kegging, then that is total brewhouse.

Mashing is the most important, in my opinion, and the one people seemed obsessed with. Higher doesn't always mean better, so don't freak out and make it a goal to get every drop because it's not going to happen.
Gotcha. So when a recipe says it assumes 70% efficiency, it's talking about mash. It's not necessarily a bad thing to have 70% because that is what the beer is designed for. Now if I'm hitting, say 80%, consistently, I could adjust the recipe to lessen the grain bill a bit to make it a bit more economical? Even though it would probably only be a few dollars...

So If my efficiency is 80% and I end up with a bit of a higher gravity, I should either dilute with some water to get the target gravity lined up or just brew a stronger beer?
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:56 PM   #7
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So If my efficiency is 80% and I end up with a bit of a higher gravity, I should either dilute with some water to get the target gravity lined up or just brew a stronger beer?
That's a personal choice. I prefer not to dilute unless it's severely too high. Also, your hops profile will be diluted if you dilute with water, too.

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Old 10-19-2012, 08:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoKozak View Post
Gotcha. So when a recipe says it assumes 70% efficiency, it's talking about mash. It's not necessarily a bad thing to have 70% because that is what the beer is designed for. Now if I'm hitting, say 80%, consistently, I could adjust the recipe to lessen the grain bill a bit to make it a bit more economical? Even though it would probably only be a few dollars...

So If my efficiency is 80% and I end up with a bit of a higher gravity, I should either dilute with some water to get the target gravity lined up or just brew a stronger beer?
Either is acceptable. The biggest reason to dilute (IMO) is that you might not have enough yeast for the bigger beer.

Basically, what you're shooting for is consistency. Once you've figured out that you're getting 80%, you adjust your recipes. Not so much to save money - more to avoid having to adjust via dilution.

The worst is when your efficiencies are different between batches. Then you gotta figure out what the difference is.

Cheers.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:32 PM   #9
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Total Brewhouse efficiency includes Mash and Lauter efficiency. You can have a good mash, where you just let the grain sit and starches are converted into sugars. That's mash efficiency. The lauter process is how efficient your system is at rinsing the sugars from the grain, out of the tun. This is where most of the points come from in a typical system, and why some choose to fly sparge as it's a more effective method of rinsing sugars, or at least it can be.

Essentially if your total collected preboil volume is dead-on, whatever the gravity of that wort is represents your brewhouse efficiency. Anything else such as improper boiloff or miscalculated trub-loss/kettle loss factors aren't efficiency, they're volume errors. You still extracted what you extracted from the grain, and rinsed what you rinsed.

Think about sugars as ping-pong balls if you want. They're locked in the grain, so how many ping-pong balls do you get during the mash? How many more can you rinse away from the grains during lauter? You won't get them all. Whatever you get represents your efficiency (ie. there were 100 balls locked in the grain, you extracted 75). What you do with them after that, like adding way too much water to them, or too little, doesn't change how many you have.

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Old 10-20-2012, 01:00 AM   #10
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Total Brewhouse efficiency includes Mash and Lauter efficiency. You can have a good mash, where you just let the grain sit and starches are converted into sugars. That's mash efficiency. The lauter process is how efficient your system is at rinsing the sugars from the grain, out of the tun. This is where most of the points come from in a typical system, and why some choose to fly sparge as it's a more effective method of rinsing sugars, or at least it can be.

Essentially if your total collected preboil volume is dead-on, whatever the gravity of that wort is represents your brewhouse efficiency. Anything else such as improper boiloff or miscalculated trub-loss/kettle loss factors aren't efficiency, they're volume errors. You still extracted what you extracted from the grain, and rinsed what you rinsed.

Think about sugars as ping-pong balls if you want. They're locked in the grain, so how many ping-pong balls do you get during the mash? How many more can you rinse away from the grains during lauter? You won't get them all. Whatever you get represents your efficiency (ie. there were 100 balls locked in the grain, you extracted 75). What you do with them after that, like adding way too much water to them, or too little, doesn't change how many you have.
Pre-Boil volume = brewhouse efficiency. Right on. Some have said that it's measured by what gets into the fermenter. I've also heard that as "total brewhouse efficiency."

As for mash efficiency, I thought podcasts and other posts I have been reading have said mash efficiency is what you are saying brewhouse efficiency is. So perhaps they are saying the first runnings are mash efficiency and the total into the kettle pre-boil is brewhouse? Or maybe I've just been misunderstanding
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